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In marketing there's a term cannibalizing, that refers to when a company is trying to produce a compliment good but ends up producing a substitute good. In other words, consumers opt away from an old product line that was making the firm money in favor of the new product line. The firm wanted to expand its market base and increase their profits so the marketing push reflected those expectations. On net, the profits of the firm decrease because the new product line took extra time, effort and energy to bring to market that could have been avoided had the firm stayed in the specialized original market.

Both of my parents, are very fond of an old saying. "Don't shit where you eat." Which translates roughly into don't mix business with pleasure. Each promotes it's own stream of returns but mixing the two can cannibalize your returns.

"You can never have too many beers in the fridge"

Which taught me a lot about transaction costs.

My dad:

"Hit 'em between the spit and the snot."
(this advice has served me well on a few occasions. Now I tell my wife that if someone breaks into our house when I'm gone, to shoot him in the face)

"Cock your levers and explode"
"Don't anticipate, react" (football strategy)

from Kipling:
"If you can force your heart, and nerve, and sinew, to serve your turn long after they are gone, and so hold on when there is nothing in you, except the will which says to them, 'hold on.'" (also in the context of football, but generally applicable to life)

My grandmother always told me (translated from spanish),
"You must always think of yourself.
First you,
Then you,
And at the end, you."
Self interest had influenced my life. It did not mean you can not help others, only that in the end no one looks out for us better than ourselves.

My grandmother always told me (translated from spanish),
"You must always think of yourself.
First you,
Then you,
And at the end, you."
Self interest had influenced my life. It did not mean you can not help others, only that in the end no one looks out for us better than ourselves.

"Any number of cars could break their springs in that hole before the council workers get around to fixing it".

That was said when I told him (aged about six) that the council workers were supposed to fix holes in the road. He put a shovel in the car and went down the dirt road from our place to the unsealed public road and filled in a hole with loose gravel from the verge.

When I was first teaching at Oakland University in Michigan I had a student who was taking my economic history course. About 2/3rds through the class she raised her hand and said, "I finally understand what my grandmother always said about FDR." I inquired as to what her grandmother said. She replied, "My grandmother always said that all FDR did was pee on American but tell the American people it was raining outside and that they needed to buy the umbrella he was selling."

I was completely taken aback by this candid comment, but after realizing what we had been reading in the class (led by the great work of Robert Higgs) it made perfect sense and I have since that time always remembered that as one of the most interesting comments a student has made in one of my classes.

Pete

My dad always said, "Never try to mix shit and sugar. It doesn't do the shit any good, and it ruins the sugar." He called this the "shit and sugar principle" for short. He usually brought it up in the context of foolish plans by schools to eliminate ability-level tracking, and other attempts to lump unlike things together. I take it now as a lesson on the importance of separating equilibria.

He also always said, "If I raise my children with a healthy disrespect for authority, I'll have done my duty as a parent." And somehow he's surprised that I turned out to be a libertarian.

My father used to say to me and my three brothers: "If you don't have anything good to say about someone, don't say anything."

It didn't take with any of us.

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